What's wrong with the Philippine party-list system?

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 04 2018 09:52 PM

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MANILA - The party-list system in the Philippines has been "flawed" from the beginning, a member of an election reform group said Tuesday.

Professor Danny Arao, convenor of the "Kontra Daya" group, said this is because the Philippine Party-List System Act does not provide clear definitions of marginalized sectors which should be represented in Congress.

"The party-list system has been flawed from the very start because the definition of marginalized and underrepresented was not so clear," he told ANC's "Beyond Politics."

"The rich and powerful are using the party-list system to make a mockery of this supposedly noble intention," he said.

Arao added that political dynasties also abuse the party-list system by having members of their families run as representatives.

"Political dynasties set up party-list groups and allow to run the relatives of the rich and powerful," he said. 

"We don't want pretentious individuals to represent the marginalized... The marginalized should represent themselves," he added.

The Commission on Elections has previously acknowledged that the current party-list setup “may have strayed a little far from its original intent.”

“The whole idea is to expand political participation,” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said in an earlier interview.

“The problem is that it has become prone to abuse. If you’re going to fix it, then fix the predisposition to abuse, fix the vulnerability to abuse," he added.

To avoid abuses of the party-list system, Arao urged the poll body to screen party-list groups properly.

"Comelec should step up and really make it hard for these party-list groups for them not to make a mockery of this..." he said.